SunTrust Business Checking: 2021 Review

SunTrust Bank offers three core small business checking accounts: Simple Business Checking, Primary Business Checking and Business Advantage Plus Checking. With locations in 10 states, plus Washington, D.C., SunTrust caters to small-business owners looking for regional banking from a brick-and-mortar institution.

In particular, SunTrust business checking stands out with its reasonable monthly account fees, incentives for new customers and perks for business owners who want to bundle multiple financial services with the bank.

SunTrust officially merged with BB&T to become Truist Bank in 2019. As of this writing, however, the bank is continuing to offer its own products and services under the SunTrust name.

SunTrust business checking is best for small-business owners who:

  • Don’t mind a modest monthly fee or qualify to waive it.

  • Make a low to moderate number of monthly transactions.

  • Want to earn a sign-up bonus.

  • Prefer a brick-and-mortar bank to an online-only bank.

Pros and cons

  • Three core business checking account options to choose from (including Business Advantage Plus Checking, which earns interest).

  • Access to around 1,200 branch locations, over 2,000 SunTrust ATMs and 2,400 BB&T ATMs.

  • Opportunity to earn a $200 sign-up bonus.

  • Monthly fees waived for the first 12 statement cycles (Simple Business Checking) or the first two statement cycles (Primary Business Checking and Business Advantage Plus Checking) after opening an account.

  • Can open an account online or by visiting a branch.

  • No waived incidental fees.

  • Low interest rate on Business Advantage Plus Checking account.

SunTrust business checking at a glance

Simple Business Checking Account

Primary Business Checking Account

Business Advantage Plus Checking Account

$5 (waived with five or more debit or credit transactions per month)*

$15 (waived with a minimum daily balance of $1,000+)*

$25 (waived with a minimum daily balance of $20,000+ combined across three Business Advantage Plus accounts)*

Minimum opening deposit requirement:

50 fee-free transactions per month, then 50 cents per transaction after that.

150 fee-free transactions per month, then 50 cents per transaction after that.

500 fee-free transactions per month (combined from up to three Business Advantage Plus accounts), then 50 cents per transaction after that.

$2,000 per month with no fee, after that $3 per $1,000 deposited.

$5,000 per month with no fee, after that $3 per $1,000 deposited.

$10,000 per month with no fee (combined from up to three Business Advantage Plus accounts), after that $3 per $1,000 deposited.

  • Personal Advantage Checking account for one business owner

  • Personal Advantage Checking account for one business owner

  • Personal Advantage Checking account for one business owner

  • Free fraud inspector service

  • 50% off first order of checks

  • Up to $75 discount on online check deposit setup

  • $5 off online payroll monthly maintenance fee

$200 (with qualifying activities)

$200 (with qualifying activities)

$200 (with qualifying activities)

*SunTrust waives the monthly fees for the Simple Business Checking account for the first 12 statement cycles and the monthly fees for the Primary Business Checking and Business Advantage Plus Checking accounts for the first two statement cycles. Simple Business Checking holders must also opt into online statements to avoid a $3 monthly paper statement fee.

How SunTrust business checking works

Account options: SunTrust offers Simple Business Checking, Primary Business Checking and Business Advantage Plus Checking.

In addition to these three core options, SunTrust also offers its Analyzed Business Checking and Analyzed Interest Checking accounts, designed for businesses with higher transaction volumes and complex cash management needs, as well as industry-specific solutions, like its Public Funds Business Checking accounts.

Location availability: SunTrust has around 1,200 branch locations across the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, plus Washington, D.C.

How to apply: Apply online through the SunTrust website or visit a branch location to complete and submit your application.

  • Required information: Basic information about you and your business, including your Social Security number, employer identification number, annual revenue, business activities, source of funds, etc.

    • SunTrust also requires that you provide personal information (including Social Security numbers) for any additional business owners with 25% or more ownership, as well as controlling officers (e.g., Chief Executive Officer, President, Managing Member).

    • If you visit a branch to apply, you will provide this identifying information by completing a form called the Certification Regarding Beneficial Owner(s) and Controlling Person of Legal Entity Customers Form. This form can be downloaded from the SunTrust website and filled out ahead of time.

  • Required documentation: Business formation documentation — if it’s not located on your Secretary of State website — as well as a driver’s license or passport for you, any additional business owners with 25% or more ownership, and any controlling officers.

  • Sign-up bonus: New SunTrust business checking customers can qualify for the $200 sign-up bonus with any of the three core account options, but you must enroll in the offer when you open your account, whether at a branch or online.

    • Enroll online by entering the code “SB21Q1CHECKING” in the application and selecting “Yes” on the “Special Offer” page.

    • Request a promo code via email to print and bring to a SunTrust branch to enroll in person. You can also ask a bank representative to enroll you in the “Q1 2021 Small Business Checking Offer” by providing them with the promotion code “SB21Q1CHECKING”.

Next steps: After you’ve been approved, you’ll be able to fund your account, enroll in SunTrust Business Online (i.e., online banking) and download the mobile app. You’ll also be able to request business debit cards for you and your employees and open and link an Advantage Checking personal account with no monthly fees.

If you enrolled in the sign-up offer, it’s important to note that you’ll need to make cumulative qualifying deposits of $1,500 or more (debit card transactions and NSF fee refunds excluded) within 30 days of opening your account in order to receive the $200 bonus.

Where SunTrust business checking stands out

Low monthly fees: With the three core SunTrust business checking accounts, monthly fees range from $5 per month to $25 per month, with each account offering one way to waive those fees. Although the Simple Business Checking account isn’t a truly free business checking account, you only have to make five debit or credit card transactions per month to waive the small $5 fee (as well as enroll in online statements to avoid the $3 paper statement fee).

You have to maintain a $1,000 minimum daily balance to waive the $15 monthly fee for the Primary Business Checking account, but this burden is low relative to many of SunTrust’s competitors. In comparison, the base-level Chase business checking account starts with a monthly fee of $15 and requires a minimum daily balance of $2,000 to waive.

Some competitors offer a greater number of fee-free transactions or a higher level of fee-free cash deposits per month, but these SunTrust business checking options are well-suited, affordable alternatives for smaller businesses with lower transaction volumes.

Incentives for new customers: SunTrust offers a few different benefits for new customers who open a business checking account. First, you have the opportunity to earn a $200 sign-up bonus for opening either of the three core checking account options.

Plus, unlike some banks — which require that you maintain a minimum balance for a specified amount of time and/or complete a certain number of account transactions — you only have to deposit $1,500 within 30 days to receive the SunTrust business checking welcome bonus.

Additionally, SunTrust waives the monthly fees for new customers on all three of its business checking accounts. For the Simple Business Checking account, it waives your monthly fees for the first 12 statement cycles, and for the Primary and Business Advantage Plus Checking accounts, it waives the fees for the first two statement cycles.

Finally, for Business Advantage Plus Checking account holders, SunTrust also offers a 50% discount off your first order of checks, as well as up to $75 off on online check deposit setup.

Perks for bundling services: In addition to offering discounts for certain SunTrust products and services to new small-business checking customers, the bank rewards you for bundling your business banking in other ways.

For example, if you open a SunTrust Business Credit Card as well as a business checking account, you can earn more cash back when you redeem it directly into your SunTrust business checking account. With both the Simple and Primary Business Checking accounts, you earn a 10% loyalty cash bonus, and with the Business Advantage Plus Checking account, you earn a 25% loyalty cash bonus.

Where SunTrust business checking falls short

Additional fees: None of the core SunTrust business checking accounts waives incidental fees like wire transfers, overdrafts, stop payments or other similar fees. In addition, SunTrust charges a $3 fee for the use of an out-of-network ATM ($5 outside of the U.S.), plus the ATM operator may charge a separate fee as well.

Although these types of fees are not uncommon among business checking accounts, some competitors offer waived fees as a perk, especially of higher-tier account levels — like the second-tier Wells Fargo business checking account, Navigate Business Checking, waives fees for stop payments, cashier’s checks, money orders, incoming wires and two outgoing domestic wires per month.

Moreover, many online banks waive some incidental fees with their business checking accounts altogether.

Low interest rate on Business Advantage Plus Checking: The Business Advantage Plus Checking account currently earns an annual percentage yield of 0.01%. Although this rate seems consistent with interest-earning business checking accounts from other brick-and-mortar institutions, there are online banks that offer more competitive rates.

Website issues and shift to Truist: On the SunTrust website, it can be difficult to determine if product information is accurate and up to date. As an example, the fee schedule that most business banking pages link to has “2017” in the URL although there is a small revised date of Feb. 16, 2021, in the footer of the document.

You’ll also find separate documents for 2019 and 2020 pricing updates, which further adds to the confusion regarding current fee information. Additionally, some pages, including the fee schedule, mention an account called “Total Business Banking,” but according to a customer service representative, this product is no longer offered.

Although SunTrust and BB&T officially merged to form Truist in 2019, the two continue to offer separate product lines under their respective brand names. It’s unclear, however, based on the existing information on the website, how long they will continue to do so, and what specific changes, if any, might occur throughout the integration process.

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